What is Slate Roofing?
Let’s talk about a specialty roofing material, slate. We recently posted on our Instagram a gorgeous home in Charlotte, NC with GAF Slateline shingles. A shingle with bold shadow lines and tapered cut-outs that create the appearance of slate roofing but at a fraction of the cost. Well, we spoke and Charlotte listened – we’ve been blown away by the questions we’ve received since! We decided to put together a complete guide to explain the benefits of this material and the cost-effectiveness of other building materials that look like it.
Slate roofing is known as the highest-quality roofing material with the longest lifespan, lasting 100+ years on residential homes. If you remember, asphalt shingle roofing has a general lifespan of 25-30 years. This shingle quality and lifespan does come at a cost, though, literally. For centuries, slate has been highly acclaimed for its natural beauty and remarkable longevity. Investing in this roofing material is a major financial commitment. Therefore, it’s critical to learn about the advantages and the drawbacks before you make a buying decision.
Slate tiles are made of rock and clay. These tiles are durable, fireproof, waterproof and no two pieces are alike because it’s a natural roofing product. Depending on the mineral composition, they can have purple tones, green tones, and black and gray tones. Cool, right?
What is the cost of Slate Roofs?
One of the factors that deter many residential homeowners from choosing slate is the cost associated with the material and the labor. Depending on the grade, thickness, and quality – you should expect to pay between $60.00 and $80.00 per square foot for the material alone. With the installation included, your total cost can range between $60,000 – over $100,000. As you know, the cost of roof replacements varies given the market and your roofing contractor. With slate roofing, you’ll want to be sure your local roofing contractor has experience with installing and replacing slate roofs. We 100% recommend you reach out to a roofing expert to assist you with pricing.
There are huge upsides, mostly due to the fact it’s a natural stone product with a unique and beautiful appearance and a life-span worth being famous for.
1. Appearance: First, they’re gorgeous. There simply isn’t another material on the market that has such a celebrated, classy appearance.
2. Longevity: Slate roof tiles have a life-span between 100-200 years. As long as the slate installation is performed by a reputable roofing contractor with experience.
3. Fire Resistant: Slate roofs are one of the most fire-resistant roofing materials on the market. The tiles themselves are completely fireproof, being made of stone.
Other than cost, the cons include tough installation requirements, the fragility of the tiles, and the complications if you need a roof repair.
1. Poor Installation – A lot of roofing contractors aren’t familiar with this type of material. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always deter them from trying to install it anyway. When hiring a local roofing contractor, be sure to ask for references. A poorly installed slate roof is as effective as having no roof at all.
2. Weight & Durability – Slate roofs can weigh between 800-1,500 pounds per 100 sqft. You’ll need to ensure your structural framing is appropriate to hold the weight. The fragility of the slate tiles can be negative – you’ll never want to walk on your slate roof. Since each tile is unique, finding a matching tile to repair broken tiles is difficult.
What about Synthetic Slate?
The roofing industry and the materials available has grown exponentially over the last 20 years. Homeowners do have the option of using a synthetic slate material, made with a combination of plastic and rubber, that is made to mirror the look of slate but at about half the cost! Synthetic slate is made with materials that reduce its fragility.
Installing synthetic slate or replacing a roof with synthetic slate will still be more expensive than a typical asphalt shingle roof replacement, but it’s dramatically less expensive than installing slate.
GAF Slateline Shingles
This entire guide began when we performed a roof inspection for a Charlotte local homeowner with gorgeous shingles, a product made by GAF. We were blown away at how gorgeous these shingles looked on the home, and how much they resembled slate roofing! GAF’s slateline shingles are an asphalt shingle with bold shadow lines and tapered cut-outs, made to resemble a slate roof installation. These shingles come at a fraction of the cost.
The picture to your left here is NOT a true slate roof, but rather a roof installed with these incredible looking shingles. These allow homeowners an affordable luxury, the look of slate, and all with GAF’s peak performance guarantee.
More photos of this incredible shingle below: